A man charged in the disappearance of his estranged wife, 50-year-old Jennifer Dulos of Connecticut, remains barred from having contact with his five young children as the search for their missing mother stretches well into a second week, a judge said at a brief status conference on Wednesday.
A representative for the Dulos children, who range in age from 8 to 13 and include two sets of twins, said in court that he visited with the children Tuesday and they "are safe" with a family member. Jennifer Dulos' children have been said to be under armed bodyguard protection at the Upper East Side apartment of their 85-year-old grandmother, who has filed her own motion for full custody.
Only lawyers attended Wednesday's hearing; a follow-up court date will be scheduled. No attorneys commented as they left the building.
Jennifer Dulos' 85-year-old mother, Gloria Farber, has been caring for the children in her Manhattan home since their mother vanished on May 24 after dropping them off at school in Connecticut.
Farber filed a custody motion in Connecticut Superior Court on Monday, the same day the children's father, Fotis Dulos, and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, were arraigned on charges related to the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos. Public records list Farber's name, along with those of Jennifer and Fotis Dulos, among the parties due for the conference in Family Superior Court at 9:30 a.m.
Fotis Dulos, 51, and Troconis, 44, are charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution. Neither entered a plea at their arraignments Monday.
Arrest warrants link the pair to videos of trash bags being dumped in areas where Jennifer Dulos' blood was later found on clothing and other items.
Police said garbage dumped in that area during the time Jennifer Dulos went missing had been sent to the trash plant, but had not yet been incinerated. It had been shredded into pieces that were 6 inches or less in diameter, police said. On Tuesday, law enforcement turned their search to a Hartford trash facility.
The warrants show blood spatter and evidence of cleanup attempts were also found at Jennifer Dulos' New Canaan home and police said they belied a "serious physical assault" occurred there.
The case has stunned residents of New Canaan, which is about 60 miles away from the affluent Hartford suburb where Fotis Dulos and Troconis reside in a large home where he used to live with his wife and children.
Jennifer and Fotis Dulos have been embroiled in a contentious divorce and child custody case for the past two years. Their children range in age from 8 to 13 and include two sets of twins.
After Jennifer Dulos went missing, Fotis Dulos asked the divorce case judge to grant him custody of the children.
Farber, in her custody motion, asserts she has a "parent-like" relationship with the children, who have regularly stayed at her home in New York City.
"Even if the defendant is released, on bond or otherwise, it would be detrimental to the children, particularly in the midst of the investigation into the disappearance of their mother, to be forced to leave Mrs. Farber's custody and return to (Fotis Dulos)'s custody, with whom they have not resided for more than two years," Farber's attorney's wrote.
Court documents filed in the divorce case say Jennifer Dulos feared Fotis Dulos would harm her in some way in retaliation for her filing for divorce, and she noted he had a gun. Jennifer Dulos has primary custody of the children, with their father getting to see them every other weekend.